My grandfather took me to Columbus when I was very young. He took me to the top of the now called LeVeque Tower. Let me tell you, I was scared. From that day foreword, the Tower has always been of interest to me. It is the landmark which identifies Columbus. The following is what I have learned about the Tower over the years. ...
The building was constructed by the American Insurance Union at the cost of approximately $8 million. The building was known as the A I U Bldg., rising 555 feet to 6 inches. It was to be 6 inches taller than the Washington Monument, but the Washington Monument was actually taller than originally thought, but the Tower is still taller, by only 7/8 inches. The Tower featured a large number of sculptures which were removed due to crumbling. Lost sculptures included four 18-foot eagles, four 20-foot statues of Collusue and youth on the sides of the building. The spaces left by the departed sculptures serves as a base for lights to illuminate the tower. The Tower was the tallest building in Columbus from 1927 to 1973. Today there are many high-rise buildings in downtown Columbus, but none stands out like the LeVeque Tower, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places. For years, the 47-story Tower acted as a lighthouse for passing aircraft. Five people lost their lives during the construction. The foundation extends 112 feet below the street level. There is 10,000 tons of steel that reinforce the building's structure. Ground breaking was in 1924, and the dedication was in 1927.
In 1935, the American Insurance Union went bankrupt, and John Lincoln of Cleveland bought the structure. The building then became known as Lincoln LeVeque Tower. It has changed hands several times since then.
Today, if you look closely at the building, just below the microwave dishes, you can see giant stone eagles with outreached wings. Behind these wings is a narrow walkway that goes around outside of the top. The Tower now has external lighting, and at different times of the year the lights are changed to reflect different occasions - red and green for Christmas, pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, green for St. Patrick's Day, and red, white and blue for the Fourth of July. The rest of the time it is illuminated with just white lights. The colors are changed by placing gels over the lamps.
Modern high-rise buildings have been built in Columbus over the years, but this grand old building remains the same. It is one of the most recognized structures in the U.S. When you look upon it, you know it is Columbus. In the early 1940s, my Dad drove me to the Rim of The World (which is one of the highest point in Ohio). It was a clear day, and with my naked eye, I could make out the top of the old A I U Bldg., which is some 80 miles away. I have never lost my fascination for this Columbus landmark. It's one of a kind.
Robert D. Carnes